It’s time for us all to stop thinking about leadership as a position, an aspiration or a reward. You can never “arrive” at leadership, and no one else can make you a leader. Leadership is a verb. Leadership is something you do.
This pivot in thinking is incredibly important for progressive leaders. Being able to distinguish “verb leadership” from “noun leadership” is crucial for anybody who really wants to make a meaningful difference working with other people.
Here are the five reasons why:
Verb leadership is all about influence. Leaders make a positive difference on other people. It is as simple as that. Leadership is visible and quantifiable. You can easily see when it’s there… and you can see when it’s not.
Verb leadership is inclusive. Anybody who can influence positive action towards a worthy goal or objective is a leader. By this definition, everyone is empowered to leadership, and it has nothing to do with what is on their business card or where they fit in the org chart.
Verb leadership doesn’t wait. In traditional thinking, someone else has to make you a leader. You need a promotion or a specific title. You might need some seniority or a certain amount of experience in your role. The truth is that effective leadership is all about intelligent and positive action. It doesn’t need permission, it only needs intention.
Verb leadership takes courage. The ability to act is what makes a leader valuable. We all know that real results do not come from opinions… results come from actions. Who on your team is actually starting things? Who are your initiators? Consensus, analysis and commentary do not move the needle.
Verb leadership drives accountability. Great leaders are defined by what they do, not what they know. Progressive organizations know how to recognize and reward action-oriented leaders.
Final thought: Leadership leaves clues. Your team is a clear and accurate reflection of your leadership. Are people getting better over time? Is there more capability in your organization or department? Are expectations rising? Is there tangible momentum toward a better future? These are the irrefutable evidence of leadership.
Leadership is influence. Leadership is something you do. It is a behavior.
Leadership is a verb.